Our Commitment to Sustainable Ecosystems

Discover how Fonterra’s ‘Living Water’ partnership with the Department of Conservation (DOC) is committed to sustainable farming & improvement of New Zealand's freshwater sources.

20 Jul 2020

2 min

#Blog #Sustainability #New Zealand

Consumers are living more sustainable lifestyles and are choosing businesses & products that reduce their impact on the planet. 

As the ingredients business of Fonterra, NZMP believes a sustainable industry for dairy  requires a healthy environment. Fonterra & NZMP are committed to making a positive impact by having a regenerative mindset, reducing the impacts of farming and manufacturing and working in partnership with others.

The is why Fonterra is dedicated to its 10 year 'Living Water' partenership with New Zealand's Department of Conservation (DOC) to takle the challenges of farming and freshwater together. 

The two organisations know healthy waterways underpin the future of New Zealand’s sustainable economy. 

The team at NZMP are proud that the milk used in producing our ingredients comes from farms committed to helping nature flourish.

The Living Water partnership between Fonterra and DOC began seven years ago. With nearly 40% of New Zealand’s land under their combined care, the two organisations have called upon their collective strengths to find game-changing, scalable solutions for farming and freshwater to flourish side-by-side.

The team behind Living Water knows land and water management is a complex challenge, so the expertise of farmers, scientists, councils and community are used to design and test solutions to then roll out regionally and nationally. 

The programme is currently focused on improving freshwater ecosystems and developing sustainable farming in five regions around New Zealand, with solutions tailored to each of their unique locations. 

These regions are:

  1.  The Wairua River catchment in Northland’s Kaipara Harbour
  2.  The Pῡkorokoro-Miranda catchment in Hauraki 
  3.  The Areare, Ruatuna and Rotomānuka catchments in the Waikato
  4.  The Ararira-LII catchment in Canterbury 
  5.  The Waituna catchment in Southland.

Each of these regions (called 'catchments') are very special. The Pῡkorokoro-Miranda catchment, for example, flows into an internationally significant 8,500-hectare coastal wetland protected under the Ramsar Convention. While the Areare, Ruatuna and Rotomānuka catchments are three of the Waikato’s peat lakes – rare ecosystems formed over thousands of years and homes for the species that have adapted to their unique conditions. 

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There are now more than 30 different tools and approaches being trialed by Living Water across the five selected regions to improve freshwater and farming. Seven of those have already been scaled or used in other areas.

Living Water Partnership

Living Water is also an open-source partnership, meaning its learnings and solutions are able to be shared with New Zealand in order to accelerate wider change. The balance between farming and healthy freshwater needs change on an individual, social, system and institutional level, so the Living Water partners are committed to championing those changes and supporting New Zealanders in making them.

By combining DOC's restoration expertise with Fonterra's responsible dairying knowledge this long-term commitment is delivering tangible benefits to local catchments and communities, with learnings for the whole country. As stewards of New Zealand’s incredible environment, the organisations committed to leaving things better than they found them.

You can find out more about Living Water and its projects at or via its Facebook page.

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